So I landed in New Orleans this go-round right as the huuuuge spirits-education fest Tales of the Cocktail kicked off — sooooweet! With Detroit Diva covering it officially, our group got some inside scoopage on parties and special events happening alongside the event.
But one of our first endeavors upon arriving to town was dinner at Dominique’s, a farm-to-table-centric resto along the offbeat, funky Magazine Street neighborhood.
I loved the classy-cool, easy elegance of the eatery, with its clean decor and open layout. Beyond the main dining room was an intimate patio area adorned with candles. We sat indoors and soaked up the sweet ambience. We opted for a mix of starters, including a duck leg confit, a crab and celery root salad and this tasty pork belly and watermelon skewer …
I feasted on a Morgan Ranch Wagyu beef coulette — a cut between the sirloin and filet — filled with a Creole cream cheese and sided with a potato galette and fresh carrot flan (below). Simply fantastic — I requested a medium-plus preparation, and it arrived cooked to light-red perfection. Home run!
Detroit Diva dived into a pan-seared flounder with pappardelle pasta and greens (below) — a just-caught, flaky delight.
Dimples enjoyed a pan-sauteed soft-shell crab (below), which I did not try because of my fear that soft-shell crab bodies will sprout to life and attack my face … but here’s a pic!
After our supremely yummy stop at Dominique’s, it was time to get to partying — we were on the list for the Absolut Welcome Party for Tales, so it was off to Arnaud’s in the French Quarter …
… which is where this happened. Arnaud’s was transformed from genteel Southern dining haven into room after room of carnival-themed merriment and wonder. Epic!!
In the main dining room, mini-boats had been filled with boiled shrimp, and dishes of bananas Foster awaited sweet-toothy guests. Meantime, cocktails poured forth from old-fashioned fountains — I opted for a classic Corpse Reviver as Detroit Diva and I moved on. Upstairs, one room featured a popcorn dispenser and carnival performers, while around the bend, another chamber was bedecked in birthday finery to celebrate the anniversary of the Cosmopolitan (above). Best. Bday. Evah. We filled our to-go cups with Cosmo and headed back downstairs as the party wound down.
(Thanks heavens for to-go cups in NOLA – no need to guzzle your drank, just bring it with you on the street!)
We met up with Dimples and ditched our cups to hit up the Erin Rose, one of those fantastic locals bars scattered throughout the Quarter if you look hard enough. You’ll remember my visit here in March; I hearted its spirited, no-frills vibe from the get-go.
Unlike my last visit, though, the Killer Po-Boys window in back was open! Even though we were still stuffed from dinner, Detroit spotted a pork belly po-boy on the menu and decided it had to be hers (the girl has a pork belly addiction like I’ve never seen. Send prayers and pork belly in her direction.).
Having lost Dimples for the evening (let’s just say our group has a vicious habit of losing cellphones in NOLA), Detroit and I weren’t ready to tuck the night away, so we walked to a bar I’d been dying to check out — mixology haven Bar Tonique.
Located on Rampart Street, which divides the Quarter from the Treme neighborhood, it exudes underground neighborhood openness and cool. LOVED it. Though it had the look of a dive, it’s earned a rep as one of the best mixology spots in town. Yay for my taste buds! A must-visit for you!
Suffice it to say that at this point, your Diva couldn’t recall what was ordered, though I will always remember really falling hard for the carefree vibe at Bar Tonique. Detroit and I stumbled home to our hotel.